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Published: 30-10-2019

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Why The Ninth Legion Had A Mythical History In The Roman Army

How does an complete legion in the Roman Army disappear? In contrast to the disaster of Teutoburg Forest, where records give credence to a complete massacre of Roman legions, no such proof exists for 1 of Rome’s most battle hardened legions. The Ninth Legion was a jewel in the crown of the Roman Empire. They had been 1 of the oldest and highest famed legions to ever march for Rome. They participated in numerous military campaigns, winning several battles and continually bringing the enemies of Rome to their knees. Quite possibly one particular of the highest decorated legions in the imperial army, they had been at the height of their glory in the history records. Then with no explanation, the Ninth Legion vanished from Rome’s history. For years, scholars have theorized a quantity of explanations as to the disappearance of the Ninth Legion and even film makers have capitalized on this age old mystery. Was the finish of the Ninth Legion a glorious affair with blood and sweat, fighting to the final man or was it a slow and undistinguished fading?

Commissioned in Spain for the duration of the time around 65 B.C., the Ninth Legion was one of Rome’s oldest, and eventually became one it is most decorated legions in the empire. The Ninth Legion would participate in countless campaigns. The Ninth Legion fought under Julius Caesar for the duration of his invasion and conquest of Gaul in 58 B.C. The Ninth Legion also fought in Spain at the Battle of Ilerda for the duration of Caesar’s civil war against Pompey as effectively as during his African campaign of 46 A.D. (Ritterling) Right after this campaign, a quantity of the legion’s veterans settled in Picenum and Histria. Even so, Emperor Augustus would resurrect the Ninth Legion in 41 A.D. when he necessary troops to take handle of Sicily. The island was then under the control of Sextus Pompeius, whose occupation of the island was significantly damaging to Rome’s grain supplies. The Ninth Legion assured that the island quickly came back under the rule of Emperor Augustus. The Ninth Legion saw extra campaigns in Spain once again from 25 to 13 A.D., campaigning against the Cantabrians under Emperor Augustus. Other units, such as I Germanica, II Augusta, IIII Macedonica, V Alaudae, VI Victrix, X Gemina, and XX Valeria Victrix, participated in these massive campaigns. (Ritterling)

Here, for the duration of the campaign of 24 B.C., the Ninth Legion distinguished themselves in combat, possibly earning the honorary title of IX Hispana. History becomes somewhat quiet for the Legion until virtually forty years later. In 14 A.D., soon after the Roman massacre of Teutoburg Forest in Germania, the Ninth Legion was stationed in Pannonia along the Danube River. (Ritterling) It would remain a garrison force there till 43 A.D.

In 43 A.D., when Emperor Claudius mounted his war elephant and crossed the English Channel, he invaded with IX Hispana. Extra units included II Augusta, XIV Gemina, and XX Valeria Victrix. The IX Hispana was initial stationed at Longthorpe and Newton-on-Trent below the command of Aulus Plautius. Following the year 55 A.D., the Ninth Legion was transferred to the garrison at Lincoln. (Ritterling)

War broke out in Britain once again with the rebellion of Queen Boudica in 60 A.D. Soon after her husband’s death, her lands had been usurped by Roman authorities, her daughters had been brutally raped, and Queen Boudica herself was publicly flogged. Queen Boudica swore vengeance against the Roman Empire. She would give rise to one particular of most significant and successful rebellions in Roman History. Boudica successfully led her tribal army south, leaving a path of death and destruction behind her. Her wrath saw Colchester, Verulamium, and Londinium, present day London, burned to the ground. The Ninth Legion was the initial to be sent to help in the rebellion’s subjugation. But it did not have the outcome the IX Hispana was expecting. Beneath the command of Quintus Petillius Cerialis, the Ninth was soundly defeated and would suffer heavy casualties fighting Boudica’s forces, losing about a third of its all round fighting strength. (Mattingly, p.110) Replacements for IX Hispana arrived from provinces in Germany and small is recognized about the Ninth Legion’s activities till the year 77 A.D.

Records from the year 77 A.D. show that the Ninth Legion was transferred to York at this time in order to replace II Adiutrix as the guarding unit in the northern frontier. (Ritterling) In 78 A.D., the Ninth Legion was employed against the Brigantes in northern Britain exactly where the Ninth Legion joined collectively with the XX Valeria Victrix, commanded by Gnaeus Julius Agricola. With each other they defeated the Brigantes close to Stanwick. (Ritterling) In 83 A.D., a portion of the Ninth Legion was sent to fight Germanic tribes in Germania Superior close to the Mainz.

The IX Hispana’s final identified activity in Britain is estimated to be have occurred around 108 A.D. or 109 A.D., when records show that the legion constructed the stone fortress at York. (Ritterling) Following these records however, the Ninth Legion falls off the map, with no additional proof being discovered as to what fate the legion suffered. With all of its campaigns and military knowledge, the IX Hispana was a initial-rate Roman legion and probably 1 of the most very decorated units inside the Roman army.

But how did the track record for a single of Rome’s finest legions come to a full halt, leaving no substantial proof about the Ninth Legion’s demise or additional activity? This question has puzzled scholars for years. This mystery has also been profitable in producing a number of suspicions for the Ninth Legion’s mysterious disappearance. Possibly the most popularized theory concerning the Ninth Legion’s fate is that of the legion’s comprehensive destruction. Whilst the Ninth Legion was garrisoned on the island, Britain was one particular of the most troublesome of Rome’s territories. It became the supply of several uprisings and rebellions. The most notable of these rebellions is that of Queen Boudica in 60 A.D., resulting in severe casualties and damages for Roman forces in Britain. Roman legions have been continually sent to place down theses enemies of Roman peace. As portrayed in films such as Centurion and The Eagle, popular legend tells that the Ninth Legion was sent north to fight hostile British forces. (Napier) Each films depict a legend in which the Ninth, while marching through the dark and misty forests of Northern Britain, are abruptly ambushed by vengeful Britons. Caught fully off guard by the barbarian horde, unable to deploy troop movements and with no reinforcements, the legion fights to the last man and is annihilated. (Napier) Despite the fact that this presents a glorious last stand worthy of a legion with the reputation as well-known as the Ninth’s, a lot more and far more scholars think the IX Hispana suffered a far significantly less glorious fate than that of legend.

Although it had built up for itself a reputation of pride and success, the Ninth legion could not have been completely immune from falling victim to failure. Following becoming fully decimated by Queen Boudica’s forces, it is not impossible to believe that the Ninth Legion could have become victim to an additional such defeat. The IX Hispana could have suffered an additional shaming defeat at the hands of the barbarian tribes. If the Ninth Legion’s efficiency brought humiliation to the empire, authorities could have turned it into, as Tom Stanier phrases it, an “unperson”. (Stanier) The Ninth Legion would have been disbanded and from then on it would not exist, no future records of it would be kept in order to guarantee that Rome would not have to endure additional humiliation from the failures of its legions.

Out of all the achievable dramatic situations that could have resulted in the Ninth Legion’s disappearance, there are some scholars who would argue that it is feasible that the Ninth Legion could have been destroyed by absolutely nothing a lot more than “mass desertion”. Stanier argues that when the Brigantes had been defeated in 119 A.D. it brought on a massive native migration into Northern Britain. Stanier believes that a number of legionaries of the IX Hispana accompanied them. (Stanier) Stanier points out that Roman legionary speak to with the native Britons was unavoidable. Veterans of the legions settled in Cologne in 50 A.D. and overtime became component of the British society, marrying natives and gaining further roots into the native community. According to Stanier, the tribes of the Treviri and Lingones tremendously fraternized with the legions in the course of the winter, so much so that there was “mutinous speak and the soldiers were demoralized by mixing with the civilians.” (Stanier)

By 119 A.D., Roman troops had occupied York for more than forty years. (Stanier) No doubt by this time that the Romans would have had several connections to the Brigantes. Doubtless there would have been intermarriages between the two peoples resulting in a subsequent rise of soldiers with British families. This would have led to a breakdown in the legionaries conduct and resolve to remain solely loyal to the empire. Stanier cites a Roman’s description of Hadrian’s army reforms in Germany and implies that the army in Britain suffered the same outcomes. Legionaries would continuously leave the camp with no authorization to see the natives. The actual strength of the unit was never continuous due desertions, leaving the unit vulnerable. (Stanier) Camp stores and Discipline among the Britain-stationed troops in basic was on the decline. A number of cohorts had revolted and in 83 A.D. a single had even killed their centurion and deserted the army altogether.

This supposed reduction in conduct not only impacted the empire, but also its foreign assets as well. As a client-state ruler to Rome, Cartimandua would have been assured assistance and protection from Rome’s legions. But when Roman-friendly British nobility, Queen Cartimandua, was exiled from her kingdom, the Ninth Legion did not come to her aide. Stanier acknowledges that this could have been due to becoming understrength, but he also notes that it is possible that there was a lack of discipline and loyalty to carry out the obligations of the empire. (Stanier) Following Stanier’s arguments, it is totally attainable that the Ninth Legion, decimated by continuous and humiliating desertions, was lastly disbanded and stricken from the military lists.

The Ninth Legion was 1 of Rome’s top military units. The legion itself has observed countless military campaigns all more than Europe and even participated in campaigns in parts of Africa. Earning numerous honors, it had been commanded by historical figures such as Julius Caesar for the duration of his Gallic Campaigns and Emperor Augustus in the course of his rise to power. Both rulers had enjoyed the Ninth’s loyal service throughout times of civil war. Nevertheless illustrious its past, Britain seems to have been the bane of IX Hispana. Here they suffered heavy losses against Queen Boudica, had been assigned to guarding the garrison at York, and somehow fall from the records and history books. There have been various speculations as to the outcome of Rome’s finest legion. Romanticized legend tells us that the IX Hispana was ambushed and destroyed at the hands of brutal British barbarians. It has also been theorized that they could have been the victim of poor morale, losing so numerous soldiers to desertion that the legion was also weak, also dishonored to continue in existence and was disbanded. In whichever case, the fate of the Ninth Legion will continue to remain a mystery until proof to shed light on the historical fog that surrounds Rome’s missing Legion.
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